Thursday, September 24, 2009

The general ick

Long time, I know. It's tough to get out of the habit--weeks go by, and I feel like there's nothing so important that I need to blog right now, but I also don't want to just rehash the same old stuff that's been going on every day. Right now, I'm recovering from a disgusting GI thing I've had for the last week. I've been a little off for a few weeks now, but Sunday I was very faint, pale, and dizzy. Then Tuesday night, things erupted (not in a good way), and I had to stay close to a bathroom yesterday. Today I can at least sit upright for more than a few minutes at a time, but I don't feel great. Sophie and Tim had a little touch of it, but as usual, my GI system reacted much worse than theirs.

This whole illness thing has continued to make me realize how nice it is to have family in town. Poor Tim and Sophie have had to fend for themselves food-wise for a few weeks, and although Tim's been doing as much cleaning and maintenance as he can, I had fallen way behind on things like dishes. Sunday night my parents, Jen, and Joe came up. They played with Sophie, they brought steaks to grill and potatoes to mash, Mom washed all my piling-up dishes, and they generally took care of things so I could try to not puke. It was amazing.

Sometimes it's tough to be so close to family. Thank goodness the drama has been pretty calm recently, but that is a very stressful thing when you are a short drive away. At those times, I'm a bit envious of my sister in California, who realistically cannot be expected to fly out every time something goes bad. But really, 99.9% of the time, I love it.

There are the obligations to all the family events (for both Tim and my sides)--which can be very enjoyable, but there are some weekends where all I want to do is relax. That's not a good excuse for missing a graduation party or something similar. Tim and I have instituted a few guidelines--for instance, if we don't get a direct invite via mail/phone/email/etc, then we aren't obligated to go. Posting something on a fridge or sending something to my parents (and expecting it to get to us) aren't enough. We've been married since 2002, and almost everyone is on facebook--there are plenty of easy ways to get a hold of us. There are some exceptions--picnics are almost always word of mouth, and Tim's family is small enough that very rarely are invites sent for anything. We do our best for those. But, if we get an invite, it goes on the calendar, and we do everything to be there.

I do feel like we are busy almost every weekend. We had talked about going into Pittsburgh this weekend to visit a few friends and see the zoo/museums, but between me feeling crappy and the G20 summit, that visit will have to wait. I am going into work on Saturday for a few hours--I took yesterday off to be sick at home (I actually tried to come in but didn't even make it on to the highway), so I'm going to make up some experiment time. Which I don't mind at all--one weekend here or there is nothing like what it used to be!

I do have pictures and things to post at some point. However, I consider the day a success if I shower, go to work, attempt to eat, and get Sophie fed. If I have to crash at 7 PM (which I have), so be it. I can't add anything to my to-do list until I am feeling a bit better. I'll try to blog when I can, but again, no promises. I will hopefully do better than once or twice a month. But we'll see when this bug lets up.

Added: so I reread this and realized I got totally off topic. I'd blame the bug, but I have a habit of that when I am healthy. Anyway, my point was that it's been wonderful to have family around to help, and it's going to be tough to leave for residency. I don't know what the future holds yet, but if there's a way I can have the career I want without having to move, I would definitely consider it. That decision is still years away, but it's going to take some serious convincing to get me to leave willingly. Either that, or I have to pack up my family and move them with us. I'm thinking that's not so likely :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

One of those days

Lots of fun things to talk about from last week--my sister was in town from CA, and there were lots of family outings together.

But for today, a little venting: why have a schedule if you don't follow it? I am doing PET scans today, and I was supposed to be doing them tomorrow. We've been on the schedule for weeks--it was told to us that we HAD to be on the schedule to reserve scanner time. We obeyed and have been very diligent about updating the schedule as needed.

Yesterday, I met with the PI and the student that are collaborating with us on the PET study. The student has a class in the AM, so we had to work out who would help me in the mornings. We set everything up, and I was done with that meeting by about 10 AM.

At 11:30, I get an email that they want to move experiments to Wednesday (today) instead of Thursday, citing that there is another group who will have animals ready on Thursday. This group has helped me with catheters in my rats, so I felt obligated to move.

Trouble is, there was a dissertation defense from 11-12, and I leave for the VA at 12:15. So in 15 minutes, I had to completely move experiments around. I luckily had someone that could fast my rats for me at the proper time, but I had to get in super early to make solutions and everything this morning. And since things were changed at the last minute, the student who usually helps me had other commitments for most of the day.

This means that the experiments have been totally disorganized. Apparently our transmission scan didn't work, so we'll try that again. Hopefully the emission scans are working or else we have to scrap all of the experiments. It's been nuts trying to get everyone on the same page. And this is only the first rat of the day!

I'm a planner. I like being organized. I set out a schedule for myself for the week and try to follow it as best as I can. Changing things at the absolute last minute (especially when using the schedule has been harped on so frequently) is absolutely aggravating. Still, I am the lowest person on the totem pole, so I suck it up and deal.

Oh well. Hopefully the next animal will go more smoothly. For what we are paying to do these studies (not to mention the time commitment on my part), I'm going to be pretty ticked if these experiments don't work because we got off schedule.